An Overwhelming Consensus on ABortion
By Ben Domenech
Obviously the overall story about how Americans view the right to marriage is one of ever increasing majorities. From just a few years ago, when Americans were split on the issue at best, they now have marked majorities in favor of same sex marriage – 71% according to some polls, 86% according to others. The argument has been won, and cultural unanimity is virtually complete.
Oh, my mistake. It’s actually around half of Americans who favor gay marriage. Those figures above are for the percentage of Americans who support banning abortion after the first trimester (13 weeks), and after the second trimester (28 weeks), respectively.
But that can’t be possible. Because if that was the case, wouldn’t we have heard about it, from the newspapers? Maybe they just haven’t gotten around to reporting it – a blind spot missed amidst all the other pressing news. Except – it looks like Americans have thought this for almost two decades. The percent supporting a second trimester ban has never dropped below 64 percent, and the percent supporting a third trimester ban has never dropped below 80 percent in that time. These positions are true elsewhere, too – once a baby starts looking like a baby, people tend to think it ought to be protected. That’s why most of Europe has bans on abortion ranging from 10 to 22 weeks, and the major countries have first trimester bans – Portugal at 10 weeks, Germany and Spain at 14 weeks, Italy at effectively the end of the first trimester. France is at 14 weeks as well, and they even mandate a one-week waiting period for all abortions. Most of these countries also have conscientious objection clauses designed to protect those doctors with moral objections to abortion.
On such a divisive issue, you’d think the fact that this broadly popular position has endured in America and around the world to such a degree would inform the political analysis of the media. But last night we saw how personally invested many in the media are in the limitless, on-demand abortion regime in their obvious cheerleading for Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who was filibustering a Texas measure that would limit abortion to the 20 week mark and require a host of regulatory steps which would shut down most Texas abortion clinics. Most egregious of all was the point in the evening when reporters were actually urging protesters on, encouraging them to scream and shout to delay a floor vote on the measure. This went well beyond the bounds of journalism – and indeed was indistinguishable from the single-issue abortion activists.